ESSRG takes seriously the social responsibility of the academic sphere and embarks on various community outreach activities by involving students as co-researchers. It also implies that scientifically trained researchers and local people working on the same level of knowledge in a self-reflective and creative way with an equal standing throughout the research process. The researchers' awareness of historical specificities, situatedness and temporalities supports the empowerment of local people, with special attention to giving voice to groups in marginal positions.
In 2004 ESSRG has established the Volunteer and Community Outreach Center (VCOC) of St. István University in cooperation with the Gödöllő Regional Civil Network. The aim of the VCOC was to provide students with opportunities to gather on-site and practical experiences at local NGOs as well as direct links and contacts to the labour market so that they can more smoothly enter it after finishing their studies. Another important aim of the VCOC was to encourage students to participate in and actively contribute to local community initiatives through their outreach activities.
Our long term aim is to build a complex and established structure of local cooperations among the university, students, the NGO sector, the local authorities, members of the community so that locally available resources are effectively utilized to improve the well-being and the social capital of the whole community. Our next step to reach this long term goal has been the foundation of the first Hungarian Science Shop at St. István University in 2005.
ESSRG initiated series of Science Cafes to understand sustainability and diversity in the broadest possible terms (Sustainable Hungary, Diverzitás Science Cafe) as part of the network of European Science Cafes: SciCafe.eu and SciCafe2.0. Under the auspieces of the Living Knowledge Network, ESSRG acts as a national contact point to help the spreading and development of Science Shop units (see e.g. SCIPAS report and PERARES report). ESSRG is member and supporter of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and promotes the 10 principles of Citizen Science.